Elvis Faithful Step Into Cyberspace

Wednesday, August 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Graveside ceremonies are usually somber and private affairs. That's not necessarily true when it comes to the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

The annual candlelight pilgrimage past Elvis Presley's grave made its worldwide streaming video debut Tuesday on the Presley estate's Web page at http://www.elvis-presley.com.

``I love it,'' said fan Diane Holbrook, 48, of Duncanville, Texas. ``A lot of people just see it a little bit on the news, but now ... it's going to hit with a whole different group of people.''

Holbrook has been to Graceland, Presley's former residence, more than a half dozen times for the anniversary of his death on Aug. 16, 1977. Several times she has brought her daughter, Stacy, creating a new generation of Elvis fan.

``I understand that a lot of stuff I like to listen to on the radio wouldn't be on if it weren't for Elvis,'' said Stacy, 20. ``I respect him. I think he was bold and, I guess you could say, had a lot of guts.''

The new vigilcast, as the estate called it, was an opportunity for thousands of fans around the world to see the graveside procession, the high point of a week of fan meetings, dances and memorials.

Fans lit candles at Graceland's gates and walked single file up the quarter-mile drive to Elvis' grave in a small garden beside the house, which draws 600,000 visitors a year.

Waiting for the vigil to begin, Patrick Davis stopped off at a souvenir shop to check out a bank of computers set up for the fans to review the estate's newly remodeled Web site.

He took a moment to send his mother an e-mail postcard with a picture of Elvis as a young rocker in the 1950s. ``I'm letting her know I'm having fun and wish she were here,'' Davis said.